Lookin' Sharp! Part 2: Cacti for the Home
Step aside, boring décor—cacti are here to liven up your home. These living sculptures come in all sorts of interesting shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, adding a pop of personality to your space. While many tropical plants need humid conditions to thrive inside, cacti are happy with average room temperatures and can tolerate dry air—after all, they are desert plants. These plants require little care and add a real impact to any interior design.
How to Care for Cacti at Home
First things first: handle cacti with care. Wear thick gloves or cover them in newspaper when repotting, and make sure ones with sharp spines are in spots your family, guests or pets won't likely bump. Cacti have areoles (small bumps) that have clusters of spines that grow out of them. Areoles are what distinguish cacti apart from succulents—all cacti are succulents since they are fleshy plants that store water, but not all succulents are cacti since not all succulents have areoles.
Cacti require well-drained soil, like E.B. Stone Organics Cactus and Succulent mix, and minimal water—only water the plant when the soil is dry. They love sunlight and can handle direct sun, but they don't need direct sun all day, which is why they are suitable as indoor plants, though they will grow smaller than when outside. Since many cacti are slow-growing plants, you can have them inside for years before they outgrow the space, and then you can transition them to your outdoor landscape design. Since nutrients aren't naturally replenished in containers, add specialized fertilizer to your indoor cacti about once a month during the plant's growing season.
Best Cacti for Inside Your Home
You can place cacti in containers individually or group several together to create a mini desert. Here are some of our favorite cacti for the home.
Bunny Ears Cactus
Sometimes called Angel Wings Cactus, this plant has thick pads in a shape resembling—you guessed it—bunny ears or angel wings. The white spine clusters against its dark green flesh form a fun polka dot pattern all over this cactus. Keep it in a spot with full to partial sun.
A winter classic, the “Christmas Cactus” adds brilliant color during the holiday season, blooming pink, white or red flowers in late fall. There are three different species of holiday leaf cactus plants—Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the fall, we technically sell the Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) so that it can be enjoyed throughout the fall holiday season (shown herein). It has very pointed, claw-shaped projections on the edges of its leaves and long, segmented foliage that spills out of the container. This epiphyte does best in moderate light, with some direct sun.
While this cactus can't literally give you a helping hand, it will add interesting shapes and bright color to your home (shown right). Stunning pink blooms will appear in spring among the long, whitish-green finger-like stems of this cactus. Find a sunny spot for this one, though it also does well with some partial shade.
In a two-for-one type of deal, the Moon Cactus is actually two different cacti fused together (shown center). The top part, available in a range of bright colors, lacks chlorophyll, which is what turns plants green and is required for survival. That's why this top portion has to be connected to a lower base, another cactus that is fully functioning, meaning this hybrid is able to survive. Place this cactus in bright, indirect sunlight.
Rat Tail Cactus
A fun name calls for a fun plant, and the Rat Tail Cactus is no exception. This trailing cactus has long, narrow stems with short, fine spines. For an eye-catching impact, place your Rat Tail Cactus in a hanging basket near a sunny window.
One of the most recognizable cacti, the Saguaro Cactus, is a large columnar plant. While they can grow up to 40 feet outdoors, they are slow-growing, so you have quite a few decades until they will outgrow your home. Place this cactus in a spot with full sun.
Cacti are great for beginner gardeners since they are so simple to care for, plus they are beloved by more experienced green thumbs since their low-maintenance manner means they'll let you take a break! Little care and lots of impact make cacti a must-have for your home. Stop by one of our Arizona SummerWinds locations to get started on your cacti collection!
About SummerWinds Nursery: SummerWinds Garden Centers is a leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the west. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.